1064 Items

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Journal Article - World Politics Review

Vaccine Rollouts Are an Uphill Battle in the Middle East and North Africa

| Aug. 31, 2021

Many countries across the Middle East and North Africa, or MENA, region have faced critical challenges in ensuring the effective and equitable vaccination of their citizens against COVID-19. With a few exceptions, like Morocco, Israel and several Gulf states, countries in the region have faced difficulties in securing sufficient doses due to logistical constraints, poor planning and vaccine hesitancy. As of mid-August, only 21 percent of the region’s population had received at least one dose, and less than 13 percent were fully vaccinated. This puts the region far behind the developing country average of 36 percent with at least one dose and 22 percent fully vaccinated. Moreover, while some countries have accelerated their vaccination campaigns under the pressure of recent COVID-19 surges, other campaigns seem to be slowing or stalling. As countries brace for new waves of the pandemic, MENA governments—and their international supporters—must find ways to address the root causes of their halting vaccination campaigns.

Israelis passing by the walls of Jerusalem's Old City next to Jaffa gate lit up with the Israeli and Moroccan flags.

EPA

Analysis & Opinions

Partial Normalization: Morocco’s Balancing Act

| Aug. 10, 2021

Following the UAE, and Bahrain, and one month before Sudan, Morocco became the third country in the MENA region to normalize ties with Israel in 2020. In exchange for resuming ties with Tel Aviv, Rabat benefited from important security and financial deals with the United States and ensured the recognition of the kingdom’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. This paper explores the domestic, regional, and international politics that determined the kingdom’s approach and assesses how the kingdom has navigated competing pressures.

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Journal Article - Middle East Journal

How Do Liberalized Autocracies Repress Dissent?

| Summer 2021

The Moroccan regime has used repression to successfully contain numerous types of opposition. Although research on its repressive policies is now extensive, impartial scholarly work that systematically examines its rational use of repression remains limited. This article addresses this gap by investigating the causal mechanisms behind the regime's repression of opposition actors between 1956 and 2018. Examining these mechanisms sheds light on the multilevel games between ruling actors and opposition groups during various opposition events and shows that liberalization does not ensure the reduced use of repression. Rather, repression remains a strategic policy employed by the regime to pursue important political objectives such as maintaining power.

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Analysis & Opinions - Economic Research Forum

Access to finance for Egypt’s private sector during the pandemic

| May 11, 2021

In response to the global pandemic, public authorities in Egypt responded with a comprehensive package aimed at tackling the health emergency and supporting economic activity. This column examines how private sector firms perceived ease of access to finance before and after the emergence of Covid-19 in 2020.

    A full moon rises over the Bosporus in Istanbul on March 28, with a view of the Camlica Mosque, the largest mosque in Turkey.

    Emrah Gurel/AP

    Analysis & Opinions - The Washington Post

    Will the pandemic spark a religious revival in the Muslim world?

    | Apr. 02, 2021

    Times of strain often lead to explosions of religiosity, as people turn to faith as a balm against misfortune. The coronavirus pandemic, with more than 2.8 million lives lost to date, certainly qualifies as one of the most cataclysmic events in recent memory. Faced with the major disruptions of the past year, did people turn to faith, or do we instead see evidence of a “religious recession”?

     

    Protesters chant slogans against the regime in Cairo, Egypt, early Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.

    AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty

    Paper

    Contagious Protests

      Authors:
    • Simeon Djankov
    • Alou Adessé Dama
    • Ha Nguyen
    | March 2021

    This paper explores the spillover of protests across countries using data on nonviolent and spontaneous demonstrations for 200 countries from 2000 to 2020. Using an autoregressive spatial model, the analysis finds strong evidence of “contagious protests,” with a catalyzing role of social media. In particular, social media penetration in the source and destination of protests leads to protest spillovers between countries. There is evidence of parallel learning between streets of nations alongside the already documented learning between governments.  

    In this Oct. 14, 2019 file photo, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks to Russian President Vladimir Putin during the talks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

    AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool, File

    News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

    Center Scholars on Recalibrating U.S.-Saudi Relations After Khashoggi Report Release

    Following the release of a report from the U.S. intelligence community on the killing in 2018 of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, we asked several of our Saudi and international relations scholars to comment.  

    In the wake of the Khashoggi report, how should the Biden administration recalibrate the U.S.-Saudi relationship?

    Book Chapter - VoxEU

    How did Egypt soften the impact of Covid-19?

    | Feb. 23, 2021

    The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically disrupted people’s lives, livelihoods, and economic conditions around the world. The global shock has resulted in a tourism standstill (Djankov 2020), significant capital flight (Djankov and Panizza 2020), and a slowdown in remittances (Nonvide 2020), resulting in an urgent balance-of-payments need. Egypt responded to the crisis with a comprehensive package aimed at tackling the health emergency and supporting economic activity. The Ministry of Finance acted swiftly to allocate resources to the health sector, provide targeted support to the most severely impacted sectors, and expand social safety net programmes to protect the most vulnerable. Similarly, the Central Bank of Egypt adopted a broad set of measures, including lowering the policy rate and postponing repayments of existing credit facilities. The next section highlights the experience of firms in Egypt following these policies.

    Arab Spring at 10

    James A. Dawson

    Analysis & Opinions - Journal of Democracy

    The Arab Spring at 10: Kings or People?

    | Jan. 01, 2021

    Ten years after the onset of the Arab Spring, the Middle East and North Africa are torn between two visions of progress: a democratic one that seeks to replace the leaders who dominate the region, and an ostensibly modernizing one that seeks to replace the people who inhabit it. Though the latter project is currently ascendant, it is likely to founder on its own internal contradictions. Arab publics may be ambivalent about democracy, but the region retains considerable democratic potential.

    Cameramen film Saudi King Salman, center, as he chairs the 40th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

    AP Photo/Amr Nabil

    Policy Brief

    A Proposal for a Stability Mechanism for the Gulf Cooperation Countries

    | December 2020

    A stability mechanism for the Gulf Cooperation Council would be aimed at institutionalizing solidarity and fiscal discipline among members. The Gulf Cooperation Council Stability Mechanism would issue some special obligations and lend the proceeds at low rates to its members, requiring them to undertake economic reforms in return.